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Deputy, girlfriend charged with domestic battery

March 09, 2000|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Berkeley County deputy and his girlfriend were charged with domestic battery on Tuesday after an alleged altercation at the home they shared.

Richard L. Burrell, 38, and Jeanette Renee Holben, 26, also were granted 180-day orders of protection against each other.

Burrell, a deputy with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department for nearly five years, has been placed on administrative leave with pay, Sheriff Ronald Jones said.

Under the terms of the protection order, the couple must not contact each other. Burrell will not be allowed to possess a firearm, and neither will Holben.

Each was released on $587 bond, according to court records.

Their recollections of the events of Feb. 27 are different in court papers.

Burrell alleged that he was in the bathroom when Holben came in and yelled at him for going out with friends the night before. In his statement, he accused Holben of hitting him several times in the arm with a curling iron, causing scratches and bruises, then slapping him in the face.

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"I was then forced to defend myself by grabbing, pushing and eventually throwing her down and applying pressure under her nose to get her to stop it," his statement alleges.

Holben's statement alleges she was yelling in Burrell's face during an argument when he choked her, squeezed her arms and hit her on the cheek, forcing her head into a wall.

She hit Burrell with the curling iron to defend herself, her statement said.

Burrell declined to comment on the charges Wednesday evening. "I wish you'd respect my privacy. ... I'm just trying to get it worked out," he said.

During a phone interview Wednesday, Holben said the couple's relationship had its good times and bad times.

She said she was initially reluctant to seek the order of protection or file a charge against Burrell. "I really loved him and I didn't want to see him get in trouble," she said.

She said she has lived with Burrell for two years and dated him for three.

Burrell is one of two plaintiffs left in a federal lawsuit that alleges Sheriff Jones allowed various types of discrimination and harassment.

Burrell, who is black, has alleged that he has suffered racial discrimination from Jones, who is white, and other members of the sheriff's department, according to the suit.

There were originally seven plaintiffs, but last month U.S. District Court Judge W. Craig Broadwater dismissed five of them, leaving Burrell and Keith Knotts, a former deputy.

Jones said Wednesday that the suit does not get in the way of his working relationship with Burrell.

"I don't have any problems with anybody. ... I treat (him) the same as any other deputies," Jones said. "I let the courts decide."

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